In just the past decade a new trend in higher education has completely shaken the establishment and unlocked access to earning a college degree to those who were previously locked out. That trend is online learning. Today, it’s very difficult to find a college or university that does not offer at least a few online courses for college credit or entire degree programs that can be completed entirely online. To give you an idea of just how mainstream online learning has become, even the most prestigious schools are now offering online programs. Just a small sample of the many schools that now have online degree programs include Stanford University, The George Washington University, Duke University, The University of Florida, Pennsylvania State University, and so many others. Without a doubt, online learning is here to stay.

Online learning has made a tremendous impact for non-traditional learners, specifically, adult students. Prior to online learning, adults who worked full-time who wanted to earn a college degree had limited options. Some colleges and universities offered evening and weekend programs, but not all did. And those programs were limited to those students who were able to commute to them. Those adult students who lived too far from such programs were simply out of luck.

Online learning has changed everything for adult students who work full-time. Now, students can access their courses of the evenings, weekends, during their lunch breaks, or whenever they may happen to have free time. Thanks to online degree programs, adult students finally have a way to earn a college degree so that they can advance in their careers.

Any student who is considering earning a degree through an online program should make sure the school is properly accredited. Unfortunately, some scam artists have established fake schools where they claim they can award a degree based on nothing more than an evaluation of your resume, and a fee, of course. No reputable school would award any college credit or an entire degree based on such an evaluation. These scams are known as “degree mills” or “diploma mills” and should be avoided at all costs.

The easiest way to avoid any scams is to stick with online programs offered through schools with strong reputations, such as state colleges and universities. If in doubt, check the school’s accreditation. The type of accreditation you should look for in the United States is known as regional accreditation.

Online degree programs are now widely accepted by employers. In fact, don’t be surprised if a manager in your company earned a college degree online. Earning a college degree is something to be proud of, regardless of how you earned it. If you are someone who is currently considering an online program, make sure the school is accredited and reputable, and then go for it!

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